EnRoute to Somewhere

Japanese Paper Skin



Not many people in India know their dates of birth, and hence their age. They seem to skip through the years of life in tens. That is, for ten years, they’re 80, then suddenly they’re 90. Laxmi Devi is 80 and lives in the midst of dried red pines in the tiny village of Balta in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand with a population of 850 people. She’s frail, less than 5 feet tall, her skin is impeccably wrinkled in sharp contours like handmade Japanese paper, and she offers us to come with her for a wedding in her village in exchange for a bike ride there.

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